The San Francisco Deltas defeated Phoenix Rising FC 2-1 in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Wednesday night at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.
Tommy Heinemann’s goal in second-half stoppage time was the winner for the Deltas of the NASL, who advanced to the Fourth Round to face another Bay Area club, the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer, on June 14.
While Phoenix awaits Didier Drogba’s debut, set for June 10, Omar Bravo made a comeback into the starting lineup from an injury and was ready to play.
Early in the game, Phoenix Rising goalkeeper Josh Cohen saved two potential goals in the first seven minutes on shots from San Francisco midfielder Michael Stephens and defender Reiner Ferreira.
Deltas goalkeeper Steward Ceus was down for three minutes while he got checked out for an injury after he collided with the post but stayed in the game in the 19th minute.
Phoenix Rising had many chances to score, including when Peter Ramage almost made a header in the 35th minute that went over the bar.
An apparent goal by Bravo just before halftime was nullified by an offside call.
On another chance for Rising, Eric Avila passed the ball to Bravo but he missed wide for the goal.
“When we get Omar involved often, he does a really good job, the hard part is with Omar’s age, he isn’t ask explosive as he once was and we had to play to his feet a little bit more and this team sat back so deep, they made it kind of difficult for us. But his interchange with Jason Johnson was good,” said Phoenix interim coach Rick Schantz.
San Francisco put Phoenix in a dangerous position when Kyle Bekker curled in a free kick from an angle outside the box in the 82nd minute, which put the Deltas up 1-0.
Phoenix Rising made the most of its chance to tie. Ramage was taken down in the box off a free kick in the 84th minute, which led Bravo to step to the penalty spot.
Bravo tied the game with a penalty kick in the 86th minute and left the crowd wildly chanting, “Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!”
Karl Ouimette dribbled the ball up the field and passed to the center, where Heinemann got the shot for victory.
“As a striker you always have to be ready in a split second, you never know when you’re going to get your chance so there’s always pressure in this game… But its good, it’s another step for us in the club, it’s a good progression competing in the Open Cup,” said Heinemann.
Schantz said his team looked tired after playing the last two games on the road, then having a midweek game to prepare for.
“Overall, I think we deserved to win..We respected them (Phoenix Rising FC) a lot and we knew we were coming to a tough place… Good opponent, good players, dangerous attack…I think we defended well and picked our chances and encountered good moments with good mentality from our guys,” Deltas coach Marc Dos Santos said.